That’s one of the many sweet catch phrases you can hear on the late night infomercials and fitness magazine headlines. Abdominal training information and gadgets are everywhere, yet very few people possess that dreamy 6-pack. Walk into any gym and you will see countless members tearing away at every possible ab exercise known to man. With so much ab training taking place, why do so many people still have distended bellies, rolls, and pouches? Is it an information overload, or simply an overload of misinformation?
Getting that tight midsection takes desire, commitment, and work. As you’ve come to realize, it takes more than daily crunches to get an etched 6-pack. Let’s review a few of the important, and perhaps sometimes overlooked, aspects of acquiring 6 pack abs.
Nutrition is Everything for 6-Pack Abs
Nutrition is the key factor in developing a visible 6-pack abdominal area. Not only is what you eat important, but also the quality of the food you eat. For a sexy midsection you should be eating a high protein diet with moderate carbs and some essential fats. Your body is a unit and it needs nutrients from all the macronutrients.
A variety of chicken, turkey, fish, steak, and eggs, are wonderful complete protein sources to build muscle. Brown rice, baked and sweet potatoes, and oats make great complex carbohydrates to fuel activities. You can get some good fat from your complete protein, but it doesn’t hurt to eat quality fats either, such as various nuts and seeds, avocados, natural peanut butter, flaxseed oil, etc.
Generally, breads, pastas, and dairy won’t help define a tight midsection. These items can bloat you and make definition a blur.
Establish a base caloric intake with balanced macronutrients. Whatever you plan out, follow it through entirely for a week to see how it worked for you. Make changes based on updated status results. This can mean anything from a carb deduction, protein increase, or even changing your calorie intake.
Water is an Essential Element for 6-Pack Abs
Being dehydrated can make fat loss difficult. Hydration is an overlooked factor for 90% of the people trying to lose fat. Keeping your body properly hydrated removes toxins and flushes out sodium and fat. Water also nourishes the organs, rejuvenates your metabolism, and curbs your appetite. Not only does water flush the rubbish from your body, but it also hydrates the muscles and improves muscle definition, giving you better workouts. Properly hydrated and developed muscle burns more calories.
Cardio Exercise for 6-Pack Abs
Although cardio itself won’t produce those wanted 6-pack abs, it will help burn off fat stores if it’s coupled with a balanced eating plan. You need to be doing some type of cardio to help expose your abs.
If you aren’t currently doing cardio, begin by adding HIIT four times a week for 20 minutes and increase your time by five minutes each week.
If you are currently doing 6 days of cardio at 45-60 minutes and seeing little results, then you need to cut your cardio back and rebuild it.
Other ways to break through a cardio plateau is to change your cardio type, ratio, intensity, etc.
Training Your Abs
Training your abs doesn’t need to be rocket science and you don’t need 20 different ab exercises for countless reps either. The idea is to simply stimulate the muscle. The key factor is quality, not quantity.
Generally, the abs can be trained every other day. However, if you are still sore after two days or more, that’s a key sign that your abs still need to recover. You won’t make any progress without proper abdominal recovery.
Ab training tips:
Begin your training with the stomach vacuum. This is an exercise you can implement anywhere, the gym, home, driving, etc. It’s simply sucking in your stomach as hard as you can, for as long as you can, without holding your breath.
Add resistance to your crunches. Adding weight to your abdominal training won’t make your waist thicker. It will help build the abs stronger.
Avoid leg raises, as they are useless for lower ab training. Leg raises target the hip flexors. If you want to train the lower abdominal area, you are better off doing the lying pelvic lift.
Don’t do any side bends or twists. These can thicken your waist, weighted or not.
Conclusion of 6-Pack Abs
Now that you have some of the fundamentals of how to zone in on developing a 6-pack, you can better utilize your time and training techniques when you engage in ab training. Keep nutrition clean and balanced, stay well hydrated, do your cardio, and train your abs every other day. With these tips, you can better carve a sleek and sexy midsection.
Karen Sessions has been in the fitness industry since 1988. She is a nationally qualified bodybuilder and holds two personal training certifications. She has written 6 ebooks on fitness and has helped hundreds of clients transform their bodies. http://www.theelitephysique.com “Use of this article is authorized provided it is reproduced in full, and all web URLS are active hyperlinks directed to the author”